Malaysia leads Southeast Asia’s Digital Economy

June 18, 2024

In the past few years, Malaysia has made significant progress in science and technology. It aims to become a regional leader in the digital economy. The government has actively promoted technological innovations and digital transformation. As a result, it has attracted a large amount of international investments. These investments are especially prominent in artificial intelligence, data centers, and e-commerce. By 2025, Malaysia aims to achieve 22.6% of its GDP from the digital economy. This will further consolidate its position in the Southeast Asian tech market.

ByteDance’s Strategic Investments

According to Minister of Investment, trade and industry of Malaysia, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, ByteDance plans to make large-scale investments in Malaysia to strengthen its position in the Malaysian market. The company plans to invest 15.2 billion CNY (approximately 2.1 billion USD) to build a brand new artificial intelligence center and an additional 2.3 billion CNY (approximately 300k USD) to expand its data center facilities. Tengku Zafrul Aziz posted on X claiming these plans would boost Malaysia’s digital economy significantly.

Microsoft’s Confidence in Malaysia

Other tech giants are bullish on Malaysia’s potential in AI. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced on May 2nd that the company will invest 2.2 billion USD in the cloud computing and AI field. These investments will build Malaysia’s infrastructure in this sector and provide AI training to Malaysians. They will also support the development of the Malaysian developer community and drive inclusive economic growth and innovation across the country.

Google expands towards Malaysia

On May 30th 2024, Google also announced a 2 billion USD investment in Malaysia. This includes the development of its first data center in Malaysia and the establishment of the Google Cloud Region. Google claims its investment in Malaysia will drive the country’s digital development through data centers, integrated digital infrastructure and AI capability initiatives, fulfilling its mission to make Infocom Technology accessible.

Malaysia’s Digital Economy Vision

More than 800MW of data centers will come online in Malaysia over the next 5 years. By 2025, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia will account for 74% of the ASEAN data center market. This highlights Malaysia’s potential and advantages in this sector. Meanwhile, the prospects for artificial intelligence in Southeast Asia are broad. By 2030, artificial intelligence will contribute nearly 1 trillion USD to the region’s GDP. Malaysia, as one of the key economies in Southeast Asia, will make more innovations and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.


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